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The "What If" Mentality: A Key Habit for a Successful Growth Marketer

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Self-taught growth marketer Dan McGaw, knows this well from navigating daily challenges as a founder and entrepreneur to be a parent, to be a pioneer in the growth industry.

Dan McGaw, founder and CEO of Effin Amazing  and former head of marketing at Kissmetrics, recently visited us at the GrowthXAcademy in San Francisco where he shared his inspiring personal story and his views about growth marketing.

McGaw’s early commitment with growth reminded me of the TED’s  slogan: “ideas worth spreading”. While TED’s mission is to spread ideas, Dan has been devoted to promote and grow companies, products, and ideas that help people since he was 9 years old.

“A person responsible for growth in a company is the person that doesn’t care anything but growth. Is that person that is crazy about growing a company no matter what the consequences are.” McGaw.

From an early age, McGaw has been active on the tech entrepreneur and online education scenes working with platforms that have been impacting the lives of millions people around the world. Back in 2013, during his first 90 days at Kissmetrics he increased the company’s leads by 300% and in less than 5 months increased web traffic by 50%. Here are a couple of tips that Dan shared with us during his lecture:

Keep wandering all the time.

That means the way to succeed is through curiosity, by embracing the open-endedness of our careers as growth marketers to do something that makes a mark.

“The most successful people in growth are people those who always wonder: What if,” McGaw said. He sees curiosity and wandering as some of the most important skills for a successful growth marketer. “if you can get into the what if mentality mindset, you will be extremely successful in this field.” McGaw insisted.

Be open to criticism and feedback 

Giving bold feedback to a work colleague is perhaps the most important and most difficult part of anybody’s job, but is extremely necessary.

“It is totally key for anybody that works in startups and growth to be willing to accept bold feedback,” McGaw said.

There are scientific studies that show that being complimented for effort after a failure makes people feel bad, and leaves them feeling like they are incapable of reaching their goals.

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McGaw and his team are doing great work. In their website you can find a clear business case about how they turned Bitfountain’s early success into sustainable growth by increasing their sign-ups by almost 300%, capturing 11K emails, and $30K sales only during the first month.

Bonus! Dan’s FREE tools for growth.

Here you can find some great tools that Dan and his team at EffingAmazing have created to make our work way easier.

  • UTM Generator:  for quickly creation of UTMs to track your content across the web.
  • A/B Test Calculator: allows you to calculate the statistical significance & conversion rate of    your A/B tests
  • Overdue Trello Cards: are you tired of Trello hiding the overdue cards at the bottom of the card list? If so, you should definitely use this tool
  • Other awesome resources  from how to guide for LinkedIn advertising, to  20 Techniques for tripling your email list in under a year, to many more.

Finally, EffingAmazing has a pretty cool blog that is very easy to read and has tons of very valuable information. One of my favorite posts is: the one about conversion rate optimization for dummies, where they explain step by step the entire CRO process.

How about you?

Did it take some wandering and “what if” to become a better growth marketer? How would it go? What are your favorite tools for growth?

The video of Dan’s entire interview can be found here.